Ek’abo Ebi! (Welcome Family!)
“Come on down and get a free turkey with any seventy-five dollar purchase!” said the booming voice. “Hurry, supplies are limited and Thanksgiving …”
Olivia leaned forward and switched off the little, black AM/FM radio on the counter beside her. Getting up, she made herself walk away from the sturdy little table, chair and laptop that have been her closest friends for the last few years. Reaching up towards the ceiling of her quaint apartment in Noho, Liv stretched long and hard. She strolled over to the living room window and pushed back the beige curtain that blocked her view to the active street below. It was 2:00 a.m. on a Saturday night and the city was just as busy as it was at 5:00 p.m. that afternoon.
Smiling to herself, Liv laughed out loud and hugged herself tightly. “The final period at the end of the last sentence has been written. It is done.” she whispered. After three years, Olivia’s 450 page masterpiece (according to her) was finished. All the characters in her head were brought to life on paper. Closing her eyes, she could clearly visualize what they would look like. If she concentrated, she could even hear how they would sound. Her characters were given names and they originated from someplace outside this universe. She knew their personalities, fears, hopes and dreams. And now (with much trepidation and not a little selfishness) she needed to share them with the world.
Olivia remembered that night like it was yesterday. It has been six years to the day, since she finished her very first book.
She was full of hope, anxiety and a touch of hubris. Olivia believed that her story was one of a kind and when the publishing industry caught a whiff of it, she would be an overnight success. Olivia laughed when she thought of it. She wasn’t sure if it was confidence or conceit that pushed her on. Liv got up one day and decided that she had a story to tell. Slowly but surely she turned into a hermit. Her life consisted of work, libraries, home and an occasional dinner with her parents. This was only after her mom bombarded her with guilt. “We rarely see you anymore!” her mother would complain.
Her cousin, Lorraine saw her writing as temporary. A stage in Liv’s life that Lo did not take seriously. “Liv you are too young to be going through a midlife crisis, so what is this really all about? How are you going to meet the guy of your dreams if you are cooked up in here all the time?” She queried while looking around Liv’s apartment with disdain. No matter where she looked or walked, there were stacks of books and paper everywhere.
Lo tried everything. Blind dates, double dates, Liv never showed up for any of them. After a while, Lo started to take offense. Liv was so caught up in her writing that it was months before she realized that Lo had stopped calling. She felt bad but relieved at the same time. She had no time for dating nor was she interested. Everyday a new idea would emerge. On her way home from work, she’d jot them down in a cute fuchsia colored pad that she kept in her purse. Once home, Liv’s ideas would flow from her fingertips and into the computer. Liv’s family thought that her writing was bordering on insanity. To Liv it was an intense and special time in her life.
It has been a little less than a year since her cousin Lorraine surprised her by taking her to the Afrofuturism Authors New Year’s Eve Gala. The one person, who did not seem to believe in her, became her number one fan and supporter. That soiree changed her life. Afterwards, she was asked to do interviews with a number of magazines. She made appearances on a few radio shows and received even more opportunities to show case her talents. But today her dreams were about to become a reality. Two publishers who specialize in speculative YA have shown an interest in her.
Olivia’s hands shook a little as she placed a copy of her manuscript into two overnight packages. Leaving her apartment, Liv flew down the stairs, out the door and into the brisk, autumn air. Taking a deep steadying breath, Liv walked towards a Fed Ex container just as the driver made his last pick-up for the evening. Increasing her pace, she ran towards him and placed the envelopes in his hand. With a quick nod of his head, he drove off to his next destination leaving Liv standing at the curb.
“Well, there’s no turning back now!” Liv said to herself. Shaking off her fear of the unknown, Liv strolled back to her apartment and to her next adventure.
We all have our beginnings. How many times have you found yourself starting something new? Or better yet, starting something all over again? A project, a race, your book? It doesn’t mean that you’ve failed. It just means taking another path to reach your goal. If you read Olivia’s first story, you will know that she struggled long and hard before she reached this point. The light at the end of the tunnel may seem far away, but it is reachable.
If this is your first time here and you would like to know more about Olivia, check out my entry, “Why do you write?”
Mari e laipe!
See you soon!
Thanks for visiting ‘Amachi is Hope.’ If you were inspired or felt a connection with today’s blog (or any of my previous entries) please leave a comment. J